- Describing New Taxa, including genera and species!
- Extracting DNA and "barcoding" populations to study relationships across different areas (ie biogeography)
- Extracting DNA and studying evolutionary relationships among different species
- Discovering parasites in their hosts!
- Studying the full sizes of a species to see how they change. (e.g., think of caterpillars to butterflies to realize how this is important)
- Ecological Modelling
while not figured, here's a rather striking display jar for the 50-rayed Antarctic Labidiaster annulatus..
Often times, my research trips (and those of other scientists to the museum) fuse the old and the new. And go something like this:
- You find something new in the collections,
- Sequence it for its DNA (or analyze its external appearance), discover it is close to an existing species...
- Compare the specimen to a historical voucher (often called a type) to see if it conforms to the established definition. Is it a new species? A rarely seen species?
Types can be missing, analyses reveal unexpected results and of course new material is ALWAYS turning up in museums.. Sometimes new specimens can completely support a dubiously defined new species or instantly show how a recently described species is in fact just a variable individual of a known species..
Okay! But enough about work! Paris is a delightful city and I would be remiss if I did not share some of its charms..some not so subtle...
For example, this ammonite is already pretty cool "as-is"
Every good city has geology to be found in the unlikeliest of places... For example here is fossilifeous limestone used as floor stones on the Gare d'Lest train station..
Can you see the cross-sections through various shells and other invertebrates?? Unseen by thousands of persons a day??
And where would we be if we didn't show some French food porn! Y'know what's amazing about this? The "pink" donuts in the US have famously adopted the description "pink flavor"..
But in Paris? not only can you get them warm-but they are RASBERRY. Tasty!
Some Turkish Delight...
And some very tantalizing cooking Macarons
We'll see you next week!